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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

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Entries in Cinematography (146)

Thursday
Aug212014

Best Shot Collection: Gone With the Wind (Pt. 1)

Seventy-five years ago this December (yes, we'll celebrate again...albeit in a different way) Gone With the Wind premiered. No, that isn't quite right. This epic about a selfish Southern Belle surviving the Civil War and beyond ARRIVED IN STYLE with a three day celebration in Atlanta which reportedly drew one million visitors -- how'd they fit them all into the theater? (Hee). 1939's Best Picture winner arrived with roughly a bajillion times the anticipation that today's blockbusters get because pop culture was far less fragmented back then and everyone was obsessed with it. It would stay in theaters for literally years (the first couple of them at twice the normal ticket price) and become the biggest cinematic smash the world would ever see. To put it into perspective only Star Wars ever came close with The Sound of Music, E.T. and Titanic fighting for a distant third.

To look at something this large for a single defining image is an impossible task (or two images rather since we've split it in half). My favorite recurring visual motif of the film, Scarlett moving against the current of the crowd as befitting her singular tetchy anti-heroine nature and her duties as protagonist just doesn't look magnificent in freeze frames, but my favorite instances are two: First, when war has been declared and she walks up the stairs calmly through a sea of pastel dresses running down them (bless the film's first fired director George Cukor - that's obviously his work!), and second, her selfish exit from the scene of an amputation when she moves from the sweaty interior nightmare of a hospital to the shock of an exterior nightmare of chaos outside in the streets. Other favorite images were too small or atypical. For instance, there's this calming exquisitely lit shot of Mr and Mrs Ashley Wilkes. [more...]

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Monday
Aug182014

This & That: Ant Man, Early Emmys, List Mania

Elisabeth Bergner, who started in German silents went on to a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Escape Me Never (1935)Schweigen a fine collection of 1920s and 1930s postcards of film actors. I loved looking at it despite my Richard Dix aversion. And this postcard left makes me desperate to see Escape Me Never, one of the 30s Best Actress nominations I still haven't seen
Cinema Blend profiles the 5 pilots from Amazon Studios including Hand of God with Dana Delany and Ron Perlman
E! Online Neil Patrick Harris responds to rumors that he and David Burtka are breaking up. It ain't so.
Pret-a-Reporter
Inside Madonna's 56th birthday bash
THR Cinematography Gordon Willis who died earlier this summer, was memorialized in Hollywood this weekend

List Mania
Rope of Silicon every death in a Quentin Tarantino movie thus far
Cinema Enthusiast has been investigating 1992 cinema. Loves Howards End, The Player, Batman Returns and more
Do You Remember Movies
names the 20 top female film stars of the 70s. I'm not sure what the criteria is but whatever it is, shunning Shelley Duvall ain't right! It ain't ever right.

Creative Arts Emmys 
By now you've probably heard that the kiddie table awards for the Emmys have been handed out. (Theory #1: If you have too many awards to fit them all into one big awards show, you have too many awards. Theory #2: Awards shows should be longer but if you still can't fit them into a 4 hour event, you have too many awards). Todd VanDerWeff, TV expert, reminds us that the Creative Arts Emmys don't really predict the major Emmys with quite the precision by which the craft categories on Oscar night can signal an impending Best Picture win. But it was a very good night for Orange is the New Black, Sherlock and True Detective among others. Here's a complete list of winners and the guest acting prizes went like so:

Guest Actress, Comedy: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Guest Actor, Comedy: Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Guest Actress, Drama: Allison Janney, Masters of Sex (her 5th Emmy but the first for something non-West Wing)
Guest Actor, Drama: Joe Morton, Scandal 

Congratulations to the winners. But I'm definitely shedding tears that the Mad Men curse continues (no acting winners ever in its entire run). Even Robert Morse's transcendent song & dance farewell couldn't break it.

Bliss
You may have already seen this Hello Kitty gallery of superheroes

I've never been more attracted to the Winter Soldier

In which Earth's Mightiest are modified for maximum cuteness and sparkle. But I hadn't seen it and now my life is complete. Well nearly complete. My life will only be complete IF they make Thor 3 this way. At least then it'd be infinitely more watchable than Thor: The Dark World.

Ant-Man
While we're on the topic of superheroes I do want to note that the long troubled Ant Man is finally out of the gate as filming has commenced. I've gone in and out of interest in the project over the years but unlike most of the internet, the last minute hiring of Peyton Reed in the director's chair was the best possible news I could have heard after the unfortunate exit of Edgar Wright. Peyton Reed is so undervalued (see Bring It On and Down With Love and be embarrassed for every ignorant person who has ever called him a hack.)

David Dastmalchian photographed by Caleb Condit

And now one last cherry on top. The rest of the cast has been announced and among the awesome ensemble cast which includes people we know and love like John Slattery, Bobby Cannavale, and Judy Greer, I have to personally congratulate David Dastmalchian for getting another big deal film. I've had an eye on the actor since nominating him for a cameo prize for The Dark Knight and he did super work again just last year in Prisoners in a small but key role.  His upcoming film Animals, which gives him a rare leading role, was this year's SXSW sensation. So happy for this fine actor. You should expect to hear more from him. And very soon. 

Exit Video

 

"Female Superhero Pitches a Movie" - this one has some pretty great lines in it as she keeps meeting roadblocks and narrowminded executives. I wish the pace was faster and the video shorter for more viral pleasure but, still, it's funny.

Tuesday
Aug122014

Visual Index ~ Suddenly Last Summer (1959)


This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode is devoted to the film adaptation of Tennessee William's Suddenly Last Summer (1959) in which a brain surgeon (Montgomery Clift) whose hospital is in dire need of cash is enlisted by a filthy rich woman (Katharine Hepburn) to perform a lobotomy on her niece (Elizabeth Taylor) because that niece keeps telling lies about her dead gay son. Got that? That's just the kick-off to the crazy.

This sensationalistic film, which was the third and final onscreen pairing of bosom buddies and immortal stars Taylor and Clift, was nominated for three Oscars: Two Best Actress nominations and Art Direction.

 

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (1959)
Cinematography by Jack Hildyard
Shots are displayed in their rough chronological order. Click on the shot to read the corresponding article.
11 Shots Selected By 12 Participants

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Wednesday
Aug062014

HMWYBS: The Saddest Children in the World Trilogy

For this week's Best Shot episode, the last 'detour' before the final three classics for the season, I wanted to introduce all of you to the short films of Jamie Travis. The Canadian filmmaker has only made one feature, the phone sex comedy For a Good Time, Call... (2012) and he's been making a living with commercials and the MTV series Faking It of late.  His true claim to fame and the reason we should all root for bigger feature film things to come are his two short film trilogies.

Jamie Travis and the trilogy that hooked me

I first became obsessed with his work when I was on a festival jury and saw the first film in the Patterns trilogy, a trilogy which might be semi-accurately described as a fusion of Lynchian nightmare, oddball musical, and romantic dramedy. A few years ago I geeked out and embarrassed myself when I met him at a retrospective of his work at the Nashville Film Festival. It's not every short filmmaker who wins shamelessly adoring fans and festival retrospectives of their work!

For Best Shot, we're looking at his first trilogy 'the Saddest Children'. The films are only related by subject matter but they're worth watching in order because they get better and better and give you the opportunity to watch an artist perfect his original voice. What follows is my short write up on each film, followed by the Best Shot choices on other fine blogs. Click on those photos to be transported to the adjacent articles and make sure to watch the films themselves. As per usual reading other pieces makes me think "why didn't I see, respond to, or  get that in that way?!" which is half the reason I love doing this series.

WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER (2003)
In which three morose seven year-olds long to escape the mother who keeps overfeeding them...

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Monday
Aug042014

New Photos from "Theory of Everything" & "Big Eyes"

Three new stills for movies about complicated marriages among brilliant people. Expect trailers very shortly. First up is Theory of Everything coming November 7th and based on Jane Hawking's autobiography "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen"

A few thoughts I had... uncensored as they come to me. 

• Felicity Jones always makes me think of Like Crazy & The Tempest. I did not fall. Unless you mean like crazy annoyed with her. Can she suddenly be fascinating in this?
• This might easily fall into the stock "supportive wife" role syndrome (not that Oscar will mind. But we might) even if it is from her perspective?
• Is Eddie Redmayne the best-looking gawky nerdstar ever? There's something about him that shouldn't really work as a leading man onscreen and yet he sure does... work it. You know?
Marius 
• I'm glad this isn't named after the book... people might be expecting a sci-fi time travel flick
• Golden light is shorthand for romantic aura / nostalgia

The other new stills are from Tim Burton's Big Eyes, coming Christmas Day starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz as the Keanes. The wife did the big eye paintings and the husband got credit for them. 

 • Whenever they show actors painting or drawing onscreen I am INSTANTLY looking to see if they're actually doing anything... kind of the way when an actor plays piano I stare intensely at the hands and dread the cut to closeup of their hands when the actor is replaced by a person who can do that thing. It annoys me that I do this, trust, but I can't help it.
• Closeups of actors hands...it's never them! Remember when Robin Bartlett told me she didn't scribble that note to Leo in Shutter Island.
• There's almost nothing I dislike more aesthetically (from disappointment rather than unattractiveness) than when redheads go blonde for movies. I want them ALWAYS ginger.

• Love the red light in this picture. The cinematography is by 4 time Oscar nominee Bruno Delbonnel in case you were wondering.
• I want this to be good so badly. But the odds... I'm just going to whisper Ed Wood over and over to myself and hope for the best
• Big Eyes would also be a good name for a documentary exploring the physiogonomy of actors since so many of them have unnaturally ginormous orbs. All the better to expose the inner humanity of their characters.
• I got a new computer! *

 

 

What does this have to do with Big Eyes, you ask? Well, I'm slightly traumatized because even though it's gorgeously super-sized most of my old programs don't work anymore because it's so new, so I'm trying to come up with solutions so i can manipulate images and the Oscar charts again. IF photoshop was working I would be manipulating this image right now so that it showed them fighting over Christoph Waltz's two Oscars instead of a painting. He only deserved one of them, so surely he should give ONE to Amy who has way more range.

It's only right! 

 

* I know I already said this this morning but the excitement overfloweth. It's been like seven years since I got a new desktop!

Thursday
Jul312014

BYO YNMS: Interstellar, November Man, Nightcrawler,Child of God, Cantinflas

Is it just me or are the trailers all coming in huge bundles lately? Space 'em out a little bit PR peeps, why don't you? Herewith, some I missed writing up so that you don't miss them. Bring your own Yes No Maybe So action to the comments.

I'm purposefully not watching Interstellar since I wrote up the first teaser and I only needed the cast list to convince me to see it and I don't want to know any more before seeing it. That said, I miss Anne Hathaway like forrealz muchly so it wasn't an easy decision. Five trailers after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul302014

Bergman's Ghosts

This is TFE's late entry into the Hit Me With Your Best Shot gallery of Cries and Whisper's finest moments

Ingmar Bergman will never die. We need not be literal about this. Yes, the great Swedish auteur passed on in 2007 but his rich inimitable* filmography is not of the corporeal so much as its of the spirit (however despairing) or at least the deep recesses of the psyche, if you'd care to differentiate. In collaboration with fellow geniuses cinematographer Sven Nykvist and actress Liv Ullman he captured many of the greatest close-ups in the whole of cinematic history. In a Bergman/Nykvist/Ullman close-up it's not the eyes that are the window to the soul so much as the face as the soul, fully visible even when its bathed in shadow. 

Yet even revealed it's still unknowable. 

best shot

When I first saw Cries and Whispers in college while pursuing my own self-guided lessons in film history, I was astonished by the film's signature move. Each of the  three "living" characters, if you can call them that, the sisters Maria (Liv Ullman) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and the family's housekeeper Anna (Kari Sylwan) are given bookend close-ups. These closeups house memories or dreams or scenes from their point of view. The closeups fade to red and are accompanied by indecipherable whispering. The impression isn't as simple as a haunting; Agnes (Harriest Anderson), who isn't afforded this expressive close-up luxury is still alive when this first starts happening. This unfathomably perfect artistic motif has already removed the film from the literal by the time Agnes dies at which point the film becomes even more incredible, disturbing and profound. What is haunting these women? Any answer feels correct whether you've imagined regrets, the abyss of death, life itself, or the living nightmare of toxic relationships.

See everyone else's choices for "Best Shot" here...

For completists of if you're curious I've included the two runner up shots I considered as "Best" after the jump

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